From Middle English ref, reaf, from Old English rēaf (“plunder, spoil, booty, raiment, garment, robe, vestment, armor”), from Proto-Germanic *rauban, *raubaz (“rape, robbery”), from Proto-Indo-European *reup- (“to rip, tear”). Cognate with Scots ref (“robbery, depredation, spoliation”), Saterland Frisian roowje (“loot, rob”), Dutch roof (“spoil, booty, robbery”), German Raub (“robbery, spoils, plunder”). See also reave, robe.
reaf (plural reafs or reaves)
- (Now chiefly dialectal) Spoil; booty; plunder, especially plunder from robbery.
- (Now chiefly dialectal) The act of practise of robbery; spoliation; depredation.
- (Now chiefly dialectal) The act of carrying off, abducting, or devouring (another).
- (Now chiefly dialectal, Scotland) Rapacity; greedy desire for plunder.
- (Now chiefly dialectal, Scotland) A thief; robber.